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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Dreams Made Flesh

DREAMS MADE FLESH is four stories of various lengths, but let's face it, most of us are reading it for the two longer stories: the Marian/Lucivar courtship story and the epilogue of the Daemon/Jaenelle story. Bottom line: the stories are OK-to-good, with problems, on their own but are absolute must-reads for anyone who's a fan of the Black Jewels Trilogy. A big thank you to Anne Bishop for gifting fans with two hot, sexy, funny (not to mention dark) stories about Daemon and Lucivar that tie up loose ends from the Black Jewels Trilogy. A lot of authors wouldn't have bothered.

My three huge, major problems with the Lucivar and Daemon stories are the following:

1.) Immature, selfish, covetous women as villains got old real fast. Going from a Dorothea or a Hekatah to these minor witches as villains was anti-climactic. These bad girls regretably weakened the power of both stories, which would have been better served not to have such pettiness demonized to villainy.

2.) Is it possible for Daemon to seem like a complete joke? Yes, it can. Daemon, we all know that you're too sexy for your shirt, so sexy you hurt. And powerful. Now stop acting like such a tool with the icy rage.

3.) And did I mention constant repetition, constant repetition, constant repetition? Midnight voice, anyone? Crooning, anyone? The multiple scenes of characters struck with terror when they realize they've been messing with the wrong overly-power-laden hero/heroine getting old to anyone? And, heck, if I never saw the words "dreams made flesh" again....

Unlike with the original Black Jewels Trilogy, where I was utterly absorbed in the narrative, I was often tempted to snicker or roll my eyes at scenes in "Kaeleer's Heart," Daemon's and Jaenelle's story, in DREAMS MADE FLESH.

4.) Lucivar's rut-fest was amusing, but edged from sexiness into silliness for me. But this was a minor point in a generally good story.


Posted by Preeti @ 03:23 AM ET [Link]

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Susan Krinard's THE SHIELD OF THE SKY--Excellent (Linda)
Shield of the Sky

I know there have been a few disappointments in this line (Luna Books), but Susan Krinard's SHIELD OF THE SKY isn't one of them. Anyone who expected this to be like a Leisure fantasy romance will be surprised as this is on par with the best of the books in the mainstream fantasy lines. This is more like the epic fantasy of yore that I used to read a la Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist etc. I haven't read epic fantasy in quite a while, so I didn't know if I'd get into the Krinard, but good writing always tells.

The main character starts out as Rhenna of the Free People, who are an all-female clan of Amazon-type warrior women. Rhenna is a bit of a rebel; due to breaking one of their sacred laws, she is isolated from her people and set to guarding the herds on the outskirts of their borders. But she is called back to find their people are under attack and that their main allies, a clan of male mountain-dwelling shapechangers thought to be made by the gods, have disappeared.

Rhenna is sent to find if any shapeshifters are left and bring them back, but when she finds the last survivor, Cian, he is not willing to come home. The land is being invaded by people of the Stone God, who are destroying any who don't join them. For some reason they fear the shapeshifters and sent men out to capture and imprison them. Cian is determined to save his people. This isn't light and fluffy stuff.

As the story unfolds and more is revealed, the characters have to change to see more than their small worlds and realize that if the evil isn't stopped there won't be a world left to live in. They have some help from spirits, gods, and rebels; manage to escape capture; and discover they are more than they realized.

There is also a romance that actually moves forward near the end of the book, which I was happy to see. I figured I'd be left hanging until book two. :-)

This is only book one, though, so the story isn't finished. The danger is still lurking; there are a few short peeks at some of the atrocities being carried out by the Stone God's priest that are brief but leave a horrifing picture of what the future has in store if he isn't stopped. I got very involved in SHIELD OF THE SKY; it's a definite recommend!--Linda

--Luna Books feature page
--SHIELD OF THE SKY review page

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Release info for SHADOW and sequels

Here are more details on the long-anticipated re-release of Anne Logston's "Shadow" books:

SHADOW - January 2005
SHADOW HUNT - April 2005
SHADOW DANCE - July 2005

They are coming out from Mundania Press and each book will be released in hardcover, trade-sized paperback, and eBook formats.
More info.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Monday, January 17, 2005

Denise Lopes Heald's MISTWALKER -- Engrossing, Unusual (rebekah)

Looks like others have detailed the plot of MISTWALKER so I'll just give my thoughts. I liked it, found it engrossing and unusual. The whole book has a very strong atmosphere and sense of place. The people really seemed a part of the world, not just some standard default colonists. MISTWALKER ended with a lot of issues/conspiracies/subplots unexplained but I just sort of shrugged my shoulders like the heroine did. Her pragmatic, survival-oriented attitude must have seeped through.

One thing that bugged me--the hero and heroine sure spend a lot of their time seriously ill or gravely injured. It became hard to believe they could ever walk let alone fight off invasions and such. On the other hand, in many romances you can't figure out what the h/h see in each other, but I could see it here. She is the first person to be (relatively) kind to him and gives him a chance (though grudging) to explain and prove himself. He is attractive, hard-working, with impressive survival ability and sincerely cares about her hard-to-love planet. MISTWALKER could use a sequel but wraps things up well enough.--Rebekah

--MISTWALKER review page
--MISTWALKER at Amazon

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Thursday, January 13, 2005

BITE and DREAMS MADE FLESH, good and v.g. (Shelley)

I actually managed to read some romantic SF! I just finished an anthology called BITE, with stories by Laurell K. Hamilton, MaryJanice Davidson, Charlaine Harris, Angela Knight and Vickie Taylor, and a collection by Anne Bishop called DREAMS MADE FLESH. Both were good.

The BITE anthology had a new Anita Blake story (not a piece of a book), a new Sookie Stackhouse story, and a very funny story by MaryJanice Davidson set in her "Undead and Unwed" world.--Shelley


Dreams Made Flesh

DREAMS MADE FLESH by Anne Bishop was very good. It is made up of four stories set in her Black Jewels world. They were wonderful--I stayed up all night to finish them. Two of the stories are quite short and deal with some of the history of the world she created. Two of the stories are almost novel length and definitely count as SFR. "The Prince of Ebon Rih" is the story of Lucivar's courtship of Marian and fills in a gap between books 2 and 3 of the Black Jewels trilogy. The last story, "Kaeleer's Heart", tells what happens to Jaenelle and Daemon after the ending of QUEEN OF THE DARKNESS. Both stories are very passionate and had me riveted. This book is a definite recommend, and if you liked the trilogy, worth the trade paperback price. It goes on my keeper shelf.--Shelley

--BITE at Amazon

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Monday, January 10, 2005

News from January 2005 Locus

The January 2005 Locus contains interviews with writers Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow, an article by Ursula K. Le Guin about the Earthsea TV series (different from the articles on her website and in Slate), and full coverage of October's World Fantasy Convention.

Some news:
--Peter Beagle's "Two Hearts", a novella set in the world of THE LAST UNICORN, will appear in a future issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
--Carol Berg's SONG OF THE BEAST received the 2004 Colorado Book Award for SF/F, presented by the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities.
--Patricia Briggs sold two dark fantasy novels in her new "Mercy Thomson" series to Ace. Briggs describes the series as "set in a world struggling to come to grips with vamipires, werewolves, et alia. The protagonist is a small town coyote shapeshifter with a trade in fixing German cars and a complicated love life."
--Charlaine Harris resold paperback rights to SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD, first in her "Lily Bard" mystery series, to Berkley.
--Dawn Cook turned in the as-yet-untitled sequel to THE DECOY PRINCESS to Ace.
--Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files" will be made into a roleplaying game by Evil Hat Productions.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Saturday, January 1, 2005

LKH's INCUBUS DREAMS -- Scattered Yet Attention-Grabbing (Laurie)
Incubus Dreams

I've finally finished this tome and will recommend it those who have been following the series. I'm thinking newcomers would be find it terribly confusing.

This one begins at the wedding of Larry and Tammy (whom after this interlude are not mentioned again). Anita is one of Larry's groomsmen. Her dates are Micah and Nathaniel (hey, why bring one when you can have two?!). Anita's trying to duck out on dancing with them when she's called to visit a murder scene. Yeah, a murder investigation. I thought, the book is getting back to its roots! No need to get excited, though, as it's only for a moment then we get back to the sex.

As expected at this point in the series, the book features lots of sexual tension with Nathaniel (he of the beautiful violet eyes and desire to be bound and beaten) and Damien, and Asher, and Richard, and Jean-Claude, and Micah, and...well, you get the picture. When the book begins, Micah is Anita's #1 bedmate and partner, but as the book progresses Nathaniel finally moves up a little in the ranks. I was thrilled to see this as I have soft spot for Nathaniel.

This book was described to me by a friend who enjoyed the earlier books as "boring porn" and I can easily see why she felt this way. The sex with strangers which fills far too many pages is dull, unnecessary, and frustratingly vanilla. How many men does Anita need in her harem anyway? It has reached ridiculous proportions. She'd be waddling like a penguin if she were human.... If the book had been subjected to a little editing it could've been so much better, IMO.

However, I still thought it was much better than the last few Anita Blake books because LKH does delve a little deeper into some of the relationships. The Jean-Claude/Richard/Anita triangle is explored. Micah breaks down and becomes more than just another pretty face (though he's quickly forgotten for most of the book). Nathaniel comes into his own (take that however you will) and becomes a little less of a doormat for Anita to use for feeding her various hungers and for cooking and cleaning. Hey, where can I get a Nathaniel, anyway?

The plot is all over the place. At one point Anita is called in to raise a zombie. I'd almost forgotten she's a necromancer so it was nice to see her "working" again. But that plot, which I found very interesting, quickly went nowhere. She's also called in to investigate a suspected vampire serial killer targeting strippers. This plot fizzles and limps to a less than fulfilling end. In between the short moments of work, Anita seems to be angsting about the way her life has turned out and dealing with the ardeur and attempting to reconcile her feelings and complicated relationships with all of her boys.

INCUBUS DREAMS managed to hold my attention for most of its many pages which is something most books can't manage to do these days, so I'm sure I'll read the next one.--Laurie

--INCUBUS DREAMS review page

Posted by Preeti [Link]


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